Cleveland art shindig

I did a little Q&A over at Cleveland Bachelor just recently, and if you are in the Cleveland area be sure to come out on Friday for the one-night special group show at William Rupnik Gallery.

I’ll be showing 4 paintings, along with several awesome people like BASK, Chris Ryniak, Derek Hess, Tes One, Matt Sharp, Mallorie Freeman, Andrea Heimer, and the guys from Cleveland SGS.

Also, can anyone tell me why I have “Dance Hall Days” stuck in my head? I suppose it isn’t the worst thing, but I find it odd it has been going on 2 days now.

Wine and Fireworks

Spent the holiday weekend out in Ashtabula drinking, eating, and hanging with some British ex-pats celebrating the fact we still pay taxes despite our independence from their country. We stayed over at place many refer to as “Camp David”, the home of our pal Dave. Dave was in a rather awesome band throughout the 90s, and on this trip I noticed a new piece of decorating in his kitchen: the damn band poster my boyfriend had over his couch when I was 15 — we used to make out under it all the time! And there’s Dave in the picture, all posing.

While out in the country we visited a fabulous winery in a barn (the wine wasn’t bad actually), and enjoyed a private fireworks display for a party of 60 people. This stuff was insane, and way better that what most cities could pull off. The word “permit” gets laughed at in these parts; all the neighbors compete with eachother as we could see through the trees and hear booming noises echo through the hills. Here are some photos…

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crazy food barn
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check out these mellons!
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such traitors we are.

I’m Waiting For You Weekend

On Saturday, May 2nd if you feel like swinging by, stalking, or chatting, I will be at William Rupnik Gallery to meet with a few collectors and take more photos of the show for my archives. It goes down in the afternoon and the City Artists at Work is doing the whole tour shebang the weekend of the 16th & 17th too.

Speaking of photos, I'm so excited I am getting a new camera, I've had the same one for 9 years! Nothing is that wrong with it (okay it is a bit wonky when you have to take the batteries out and put them back in just to get the power to turn on) but it has become clear I need something really ace, especially if I am doing larger work that can't fit on a flatbed scanner.

There's an interview with me here on CoolCleveland.com which is neat; no one in the area ever reviews my shows because I didn't go to Cleveland Institute of Art (I went to the other CIA), so it is nice to get some write-ups here and there. Thank you Cleveland Bachelor and Hello My Name Is Art, again. Most of all thank you to you people who buy art, in Cleveland, in a recession. I'm still amazed!

Other than that, I finished two commissions in record time, I'm transcribing interviews for the Red Hot Chili Peppers book that will be coming out soon, and have barely had time to wipe my butt while my apartment looks like a Whitney & Bobby crack den — again. Truthfully this has been an awful week in different ways and I cannot wait until Friday when hubby and I start our 8th Anniversary celebrations. A girl never needed champagne so bad, but, I'm thinking a Lady in White might do the trick.

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Poise, Posture and Profanity

Hello My Name Is Art was nice enough to do this little plug for "Poise, Posture and Profanity" opening this Friday. He "gets" me, which is nice. Below are some partial shots I took of us laying out the show. Should be fun, and I think a couple pieces may have sold already….

In the meantime I just finished a few commissioned 5x7s. I'm really nervous because it is of someone I know, and they don't know a mutual friend put me up to it as a surprise present. Doing work of real people is way harder for me than doing work of actual living people — way stressful.

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Two Days of Sloth

It was a short trip, but I’m back from Amish country. No photos this year, husband and I tried as much as we could to do nothing of interest and just lounge like beached whales. Our hotel was great as usual and all decorated for Christmas; husband describes the place as a 5 star hotel with a slightly creepy religious vibe. Hey for $80 a night you really can’t beat it, I think it is even better than some of the fancy-pants rich jerk places I’ve stayed at. Although it is for retired folks and families with children, husband and I always seem to do the sort of vacations that old coots would do. We get strange looks quite often though I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe I’d fit in better if I had little girls named Kaylee and Britney, seriously, there were at least 7 or 8 girls running around the place named Kaylee!

Most of the time was spent eating, sitting in the hot tub, and doing old coot things like drinking coco in the library while doing ajigsaw puzzle of men building a barn. Yeah that’s right baby, I was sitting there trying to put that thing together! Well, really the reasoning was that our hotel had free cookies and coco before dinner, and we didn’t want to look like jerks just taking the stuff and scrambling back to the room.

There is no alcohol allowed or sold in any of the public areas of these hotels — we learned this last year and found the local taverns in record time — so this year we came prepared with bottles of Champagne and spent many hours going through cable channels we never see at home. “Operation Repo” is now our new favorite show. We felt sort of weird and guilty boozing it up and watching crap TV while paintings about faith, hard work, and bible passages were placed around our room. I was also intrigued by the amounts of young adult books based on Amish girls and sexual tension that were being sold in the lobby. Well, not always sexual tension, but they seemed very Sweet Valley High in a more innocent way. Plots lines included: the girl who loves animals and the boy she likes who goes hunting, and the boy whose mother dies and he vows never to love another woman again (kinda creepy actually). I come to find out Amish romance novels are also really huge, who knew?

The big excitement of the towns around us was the dead body found in a field over the weekend. Shot in the head, and set on fire no less. Super creepy! Sounds like a movie to me!

Oktoberfest: Minster, Ohio

Ah, Ohio. So much to explore in my adopted state, there is no shortage of strange and overly kitschy trips you can do here as I’m finding out. My husband and I have a habit of doing trips that seem more for people in retirement than a younger couple. I’m shocked we don’t own an RV yet. This weekend our destination was Minster for the annual Oktoberfest and 10K race. Upon driving into the area where we were staying which was Sidney, there were many bizarre and disturbing anti-abortion billboards to be seen, on top of just the usual “the rapture is coming!” signs along the freeway. Always a nice welcome don’t you think? Ah, this will be fun.

The day before the race, we got ourselves a snazzy room at a Comfort Inn which had a two-person jacuzzi tub, always awesome, and we decided to explore Sidney a tad before doing some re-con work over in Minster. Now, as we drove into the town square in Sidney, there was something odd. Something…familiar. The lamp posts, the court building with the clock, the 50s diner across from the square…

Then we realized what it was, and oh my, were we about to enter the diner and walk into this scene?!

The Spot was actually pretty cool, we got burgers and fries and a coke for $4 and they weren’t too ridiculous in size. It was funny, we noticed all the newspaper clippings and photos of George W. Bush all over the place (he came to visit and had a meal or two) and then noticed that the ketchup at every table was not Heinz, but Hunt’s. hee-hee. The locals were nice and talkative, mostly the elderly who have lived there their entire lives. We went back twice.

Sidney is also where the Air Stream is manufactured. They give factory tours, but we didn’t want to be tempted into buying one. Other than that though, the town was dead. Store fronts weren’t boarded up, but rather just had a bunch of crap in them like mountains of wicker baskets and they all looked dusty. The only other sign of life was a tattoo parlor. Despite this, we spotted at least 4 goth/emo kids wandering the streets. Goes to show they are everywhere, even in deserted small town America. Then next was Minster.

We got the Budweiser horses out of the way. Man they were huge, and got a sweet ride in…

The horses — for whatever reason — all had huge erections as we walked through. The children didn’t know what to think, and an old man told me it was my fault for exciting them. Even Ben had a huge erection…

I mean the horse ‘Ben’  — not my husband Ben. Anyways, next day was race day, and the start of the festival.

It was hot people. 90 degrees at 10am. The race started late, there was almost no shade, and my husband said he watched other runners drop like flies. One guy just ran over to a lawn with a sprinkler, one sat down on the sidewalk. As I waited at the finish line EMTs were escorting some of the first runners across the finish line. I wasn’t even racing, but just walking a few blocks caused me to sweat buckets. But not my man, he finished with no problem, no wobbles or collapsing.

That’s right sucka’s! At this point it was time to get some pretzels and some goddam beer! But, one little problem…

Okay, people, when you only have TWO DIFFERENT BEERS available for consumption — that’s not an Oktoberfest! Seriously, Bud Light and Amber Bock don’t cut it. I spent $2 for a single plastic cup each time. Sure I drank it, but it was gross, I was mad that I couldn’t even get a Beck’s. What the hell Minster? Does Budweiser just dump money at your door so you don’t allow real beer tastings? There was only one bar in the whole town, it was gross, and all they had was Bud Light and Warsteiner on tap. I have a 12 pack of Warsteiner in my fridge, so I’m not drinking it from a bar tap where there is no air-conditioning. Seriously, this was as close to a stine as I came…

So, at this point we decided to say screw it to the parade. It was hot, the beer sucked, the food was a good variety but who really wants to eat a hot meal when it is 90 degrees out? There were also bees everywhere, hundreds and hundreds of bees. We decided to slam at least two beers before heading out, so we stuck around the gazebo to see who won what age groups etc. (oh yes, the top two were from Kenya, like we didn’t know that would happen). Well, it was good we had that second beer, because guess what? Hubby won his age group!

37th overall, 1st in 40-44. Besides a medal, he won a free pair of Nike shoes! It was here that we decided to celebrate with another pretzel and another, ew, Amber Bock. This then prompted Ben to start saying over and over “respect the medal” and push it in my face. If we got pulled over on a back country road for driving under the influence, what was the plan? “I’ll shove this in the cop’s face and say, “respect the medal!”

After enjoying a jacuzzi soak back in Sidney, getting a root beer float at an A & W and recovering from heat stroke it was a ‘leave it to Beaver” marathon that lulled us to sleep. The next morning we left the rows of truck stop fast food joints and scary anti-abortion billboards, ‘respect the medal’ we yelled, as it was time to get the hell out of central Ohio!

Trip to Amish Country

Alright, two full days in the Amish countryside of Ohio. It actually was nice, relaxing and not nearly as expensive as Palm Beach of course.

First, on our way down we stopped in Canton, Ohio to visit the Classic Car Museum. Our whole reason for the stop here was to get a photo of my husband in front of Johnny Carson’s DeLorean for a photo contest.The one that Johnny was caught drunk driving in, and offered the cop a $50 bill to let him go. But guess what? The DeLorean was taken back by the rightful owner to be auctioned off on Ebay after DeLorean’s death. Bastard! Canton is a miserable and horrible place I will never go back to — sorry it is — but luckily the museum was weird enough that the stop was worth it despite no Johnny Carson car.

Not only were there cars, but oddball displays, old games, mannequins and every piece of junk you could find. Many strange celebrity cut-outs and Muppets were to be found, watching us closely…


I did see one sight in Canton that made me happy, a funny old Motel sign..

Anyways, the town of Sugarcreek wasn’t far and our plan B for the photo of my husband we decided would be the cuckoo clock we had heard so much about. Our hotel was awesome and so nice for the price. Really, I have stayed a fancy-pants places with rooms a quarter of the size our “standard room” had. In fact, I think our room was about the square footage of my apartment. There was an indoor swimming pool/jacuzzi with farmland views all around from large windows, and the breakfast and library areas were really cute. I have never seen hotel so new and clean looking, not a hint of wear and tear. I was also won over by the little things such as a small fridge, two bathrooms with his and hers sinks, and this view of Amish farmland off my balcony…

The only problem we had in these towns besides our tires being covered in horse poop, was that everyone eats dinner at 4:00pm and everything shuts down at odd early hours. That didn’t stop us from eating too much pie, roast, cookies and cheese though. Luckily the hotel owned a restaurant and shop right next door. We had no trouble finding a pub in the deserted downtown area but the lack of any service turned us off; being that we looked a bit out of place I think they wanted us out of there altogether. So, we decided to head to the local winery spots to get our drink on. Ohio wine, the idea freaked me out not to mention the color. I also didn’t like the fact that when we got to the main winery, many white trash old folks were screaming, “I want one that tastes like grape juice!” during the tastings. Really, I think my husband was the only tourist under the age of 50 who didn’t have the mullet and mustache combo. Raspberry wine and cherry wine also seemed odd to me, but we decided to at least try it considering this was our only real alcohol option.

I won’t say that Cherry Wine tastes like wine, or like sherry, or quite like port…honestly I don’t know what it was like but definetly not bad and definetly in that arena somewhere within the booze family. The raspberry and blueberry wines however I would steer clear of. So damn sweet, it was like Robotusin and a sugar cube mixed together. So with our cherry wine and a bag of Amish cheese we decided to chill for a while.

We then spent the next day trying to find the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock! It was not easy. We got to know those back country roads real well, thanks to locals who give incredibly vague directions and signs that have worn away. We did find this road, that I now want to build an Addams Family style mansion on…

There were also cool motel signs such as this…

You can’t go wrong with a cowboy and his puppy now can you? But really, the amount of driving done trying to find this damn clock was stupid. You’d think they would have a big sign advertising the location, right? No instead it was all advertising for the bulk cheese and meats stores. Or quilt, lace curtain and doily girly-grandma decor shops. Hey, if I had a larger car I probably would have picked up an Amish made box spring for my bed, but that wasn’t important, the clock was what we came here for — we needed to see the damn clock! We finally discovered where it may be on a tiny map. On the morning before leaving, we ventured up into no man’s land again to the shopping area and restaurant I believed the clock to be located. We got to the huge faux Swiss Chalet building and walked around, no friggin’ clock. If this clock is so big you’d think it would be obvious right? I was sick of looking, I went inside the gift shop and asked a little girl where is the big clock? She pointed to the restaurant further inside, was it indoors? How? And what do you know, we came upon an outdoor patio where the silly thing had been surrounded by the Chalet complex…

There were also little silly fun sights indoors too…

So yep, that was about it. We ate too much cheese, drove around aimlessly, watched too much of the Lifetime channel on cable TV and slept a lot. No being shunned by the Amish for taking photos, no getting punched by undercover cops that are pretending to be Amish ala “Witness” and no joining in on the teenage meth parties I hear so much about when they do rumspringa. I would like to check out one of the crazy malt liquor fueled parties those kids throw in the middle of fields and hundreds of them come from different states just to drink together. Though growing up in Michigan, I think I’ve been to enough of those malt liquor in a field parties as a teenager. Mickey’s baby!

Romantic Weekend in Akron

Hellooo Akron!

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Okay so this wasn’t meant as a “romantic weekend”, but we decided to make the most of our trip down the freeway 30 minutes for hubby’s race and to visit one of our friends. Mind you, we always have had fun in Akron; friends, good music, a dark bar and getting hammered played a large part in this of course. Akron has really good pizza places — way better than Cleveland for some odd reason — and one of our fav clothing stores that carries Ben Sherman products is located in the Highland Square area. On staying the whole weekend I learned however that Akron has loads of crazies wandering the streets begging for money, it seems deserted for the mostpart, and learned that I should not eat a 10oz. burger while sleeping in a round room. Yes, a round room! While it was fun, it really did give me nasty headache the first night — I never get headaches.

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I had read and heard about the hotel in an old Quaker Oats silo, so we decided to stay. I’m not as seasoned a traveler as people who do it all the time for business, I have however, traveled A LOT and stayed at A LOT of Motels and Hotels. Enough that I really think I should be paid to review them as I am quite particular. For instance, I rate my stays at The Falls View Marriott in Niagara Falls and the Holiday Inn in Johnstown, New York to be vastly superior experiences when compared to “luxury” digs, like The Morgans NYC and The Chesterfield Palm Beach. But that’s a whole other write-up for another time.

The Silo Hotel was quite funny and disorienting. It had squishy pillows, a bouncy bed, almost totally soundproof (duh, silo!) my only complaint is the complete shit shower with spastic water pressure and the linens could stand to be upgraded; run by Crown Plaza I don’t know how they decided to label it “the most exciting hotel in the world” when I can think of 6 hotels in Vegas more so, but indeed it was bizarre. The old Quaker Oats ads were pretty fun, as were the choo-choo trains everywhere…

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Here’s hubby posing with his trophy from that morning at Akron Aeros Stadium. He got 2nd place in the Masters division:

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Here’s the Mary Coyle ice cream shop where we got some yummy grub:

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I also don’t know why the shoe repair shop has a mannequin dressed as a pregnent Mexican robot:

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In all it was a fine trip except for the part where I threw up from my headache (no more round rooms and burgers for me!), and the part where I caught a cold. But that’s okay, if there’s an awesome show at The Lime Spider — ahem, May 25th — this summer, I will indeed be back up on the rooftop chowing down on a Gyro while tipsy.

Last year I did Palm Beach, San Francisco, Chicago and repeat trips to Michigan in-between various other jaunts…this is the budget year so I have to get excited about what I can.